Asylum. Solo exhibition by Nikolai Chiryatev
23 December 2016 —  8 March 2017
  • Слайдер для Asylum. Solo exhibition by Nikolai Chiryatev

The artist Nikolai Chiryatev invites you to admire the purple sky and the lantern lights from the bottom a St.Petersburg “well courtyard”

  • Light and darkness in the streets of St. Petersburg

  • Solitary walk after the sunset

  • Search for a man in the big city


The urban landscapes by Nikolai Chiryatev were created in the basement of his workshop, just like the best examples of the genre. The unmistakable firewalls of St. Petersburg tenement houses filled with unnatural green light of street lanterns sink in the eerie purple flames of the night city.

The artist deliberately avoids using the rich literary canons of depicting the city, but the yellow walls of blind courtyards and alleys keep the smell of the "Petersburg Physiology", inhabited with “the poor folk” and the ghosts of petty officials. Taking off the Gogol's overcoat, and defending against the evil, the artist works in bright electric lights, trying to catch the effect of urban lighting after sunset. Naturalism and sentimental topography are not important in his landscapes, and the 5th line can be easily confused with the 25th. What we see is a kind of universal urban landscape where the season and the time of the day don’t need to be defined, where cars are hidden under thick layer of snow, where wall graffities look as the blackened frescoes.

Chiryatev continues the tradition of metaphysical landscape: he creates an atmosphere in tune with the spirit. Despite of the melancholic empty streets images, in real life he is a big lover of the sun and the solar aesthetics. While his city series is a statement about a man, his place in the world, and, what is more important, his feelings.

Admiring the variety of lighting effects and naturalistic colors, it is easy to lose sight of the painting structure. There are no characters and no actions, but the dialogue of light and darkness that can be regarded as a conflict of cosmic scale.

The electric light in Chiryatev’s works is the evidence of invisible presence of a man. Single windows in the mist or in miraculous snow glow look particularly dramatic. Emotional content is very important for the author. The creative impulse often comes from the attempt to convey the feeling of living in the dark, when a man loses himself in space, and plunges into a state similar to weightlessness, which very few people had the opportunity to experience.

This position of darkness observer explains the compositional unity of Chiryatev’s landscapes and archetypal images of bridges, crossroads, gates, that symbolize the transition state. Each painting by Nikolai Chiryatev can be called a window into another world. But not every viewer has the courage to peer into the darkness and meet with its inhabitants right there in the exhibition hall. This show is a certain spiritual feat of the young artist who tamed the poisonous light of street lamps, and made the haze retreat, leaving in front of us a pedestrian crossing, a staircase or a warm light of a bulb in somebody’s kitchen.


about the artist

Nikolai was born on 5 March, 1985, in Yugorsk, Siberia. He graduated from the Yugorsk Institute of Fine Arts in 2005 and from 2005 to 2011 he attended the graphic faculty of the Ilya Repin St. Petersburg State Academy of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.

During his study and after graduation he actively participated in various competitions and contests, as well as in group and solo exhibitions in Russia and abroad.

Today Nikolai Chiryatev`s artworks are exhibited in The Russian Academy of Arts Museum, The Kirishi Museum of History and Local Lore and A.S. Pushkin Museum-reserve. They`ve also been included into numerous private collections in Russia, the USA, China, South Korea, Poland, Italy and CIS countries.

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